Government ministers in Sri Lanka have called for an increase in raw material imports from India in order to reduce shipping costs and delivery times for its expanding apparel export industry.

According to reports in the local press, Deputy Finance Minister GL Peiris claimed that imports from India accounted for just five per cent of the $1.2bn imported into the country each year.

The majority of Sri Lanka's textile imports currently come from the Far East, but, according to Peiris, costs and delivery times could all be cut if they were imported from India.

Sri Lanka's apparel exports are currently in a favourable position, with the US remaining one of the key export countries and the recent signing of a trade pact with the EU bolstering the industry.